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USVI Wind Energy Update

Ian Baring-Gould, NREL based on research by Eric Lantz, Adam Warren, Owen Roberts, Vahan Gevorgian, & Dan Olis

Credit: Warren Gretz, NREL

EDIN-USVI Energy Workshop June 11, 2012 Bjerget House, St. Croix

Wide Range of Power System Options

Renewable power systems can be used to cover a wide range of needs, including:
Dedicated Use: Power being used at point sources without regulation Small or Simple Systems: Power systems for individual buildings and dispersed generation where high level of reliability is not required Community Power Systems: Utility-provided power to larger communities or group of buildings with larger loads Wind-Diesel Systems: Large communities or facilities with large loads Integrated Systems: Large islanded systems incorporating conventional and large-scale renewable generation
Photo Credit: Kent Bullard

High Contribution Renewable Technology

Does not require additional capacity Does change the way that the balance of system capacity is utilized Does require expanded system flexibility
10000 8000




0 800 600
Ramp (MW/hour)

400 200 0 -200 -400 -600 -800 0 20 40 60

Net load (load-wind) Additional ramping needs with wind Maximum/Minimum Load Peak Load

80 Hours (1 week)





There are a number of ways from the demand and supply side to help support this flexibility, with expanded use of inelegant grids important

Current Status of High Contribution Renewable Technology

Recent oil cost variability has caused many nations, states, and organizations to look at options to reduce dependence on diesel fuel for power generation Rapidly expanding market for large-scale renewable-diesel systems: ~40 projects operating or in construction with additional projects being developed Operating projects in almost every region of the world Most projects are smaller in size (2 MW or less) with expanded interest in larger integrated island systems Interest growing worldwide but strong interest in U.S (Alaska), Australia, Canada, Caribbean, and Pacific Islands But the challenges continue Electricity is only part of the energy question High capital costs Lack of understanding of the technology Requires a rethinking of the grid and controls
Heat Electricity Transport

% of energy usage in the rural community of Akutan, Alaska by sector

Wind Development - SROPTTC

SROPTTCTM framework for project development Site: A suitable location to implement the projectAccess to transmission, removed from population centers, limited environmental impact Resource: An economically viable resource to exploitWind resources in St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John that can be developed Off-take: Someone that can use the powerWAPA and other local organizations interested in using wind technologies Permitting: The ability to implement projects understanding community need and competing uses60% goal and community acceptance of wind development Technology: Suitable technologyWind turbines that can be implemented and operated in the USVI (grid integration, challenging infrastructure and weather) Team: Team of people that will implement the projectPublic and private parties willing and able to pursue the implementation of wind projects Capital: Availability of capital to develop a utility-scale windAttracting needed capital from private and public sources

Wind Development SROPTTC Site

Initial siting requires an assessment of many critical issues, some of which are identified in other aspects of the SROPTTC process: Access to transmission Removed from population centers Limited environmental impact Roads and other infrastructure Areas with land slope less than 20% and good access Limited visual, sound, cultural heritage impacts Sites have been identified that could support wind development: St. CroixRidges to the south west of Christiansted, in the agricultural land on the southern coast or east of the refinery St. ThomasSeveral potential but Bovoni Point most appropriate based on initial screening St. JohnNo currently viable sites identified

Identified Locations for Potential Development

Siting Bovoni Point, St. Thomas

Currently used for various public and private generally industrial uses with residences primarily along Route 30 No identified near or long-term conflicting uses on largely private lands Access to 13.8-kVA transmission and about 2 miles from the East End Substation

Wind Development SROPTTC Resource

Long-term data demonstrates wind resource for economically viable wind development in the USVI and is likely bounded by recorded airport and satellite-based SSMI data

Wind Development SROPTTC Resource

Site-specific measurement tower and SODAR-based resource assessments being undertaken to help further understand the available wind resource and its characteristics

Resource Bovoni Point St. Thomas

Virtual Meteorological Mast (VMM) data obtained from AWS TruePower to allow initial assessment of potential wind VMM data developed from global atmospheric models, surface observations, satellite observations, and weather balloon data 6.3 m/s annual average with +/- 0.8 m/s accuracy, largely due to the absence of wind shear data above 30m height

Resource Bovoni Point St. Thomas

Similar in nature to other locally observed wind data Very directional datagood for turbine spacing Consistent winds exceed 5.0 m/s for 70% of the timegood for power quality Diurnal profile indicates stronger winds early morning through noon

Illustrative Site Layout Bovoni Point St. Thomas

Illustrative layout of potential ~12 MW wind farm at Bovoni Point

Comparative Estimated LCOE Bovoni Point

Initial estimate of LCOE for potential wind development, including current federal incentives but excluding detailed integration and system balancing requirements

Wind Development SROPTTC Off-Take and Capital

For utility wind development, WAPA is the only viable off-taker in the absence of an interconnection to Puerto Rico Two ownership options exist: WAPA owner/operator through contracted development Project conducted on WAPA balance sheet Likely disqualified from federal incentives Access to federal low-cost loans Would require a new bond issuance for up to $40 million WAPA conducts Power Purchase Agreement (PPA): WAPA does not own infrastructure, thus IPP shoulders most risks Method used for solar PV development Common model used throughout U.S. for wind development Able to take advantage of PTC and other federal incentives Typically treated as a liability on a utilitys balance sheet Likely higher capital cost due to higher risk, likely leading to higher overall power costs

Wind Development SROPTTC Permitting

Many federal, territorial, and local permits usually apply to wind projects Air spaceFAA, DoD, and other agencies Clean Water ActEPA Coastal resource reviewU.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Coast Guard National historic preservation (location and character of place) Impacts to wildlife, including birds, bats, and marine mammalsF&W and DPNR If a federal nexus occur, compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is also necessary Coastal management and/or marine spatial planning Territorial zoning and planning (at the territorial or local level), which includes safety setbacks, noise, and construction issues The key is early, frequent, and supportive engagement with all potential regulatory organizations.

Wind Development Environmental Impact

Every form of development has impact Impacts on isolated islanded communities can be more problematic due to threatened species, more limited habitat that is already highly fragmented, and increased local stress Pre- and post-construction impact assessments can greatly reduce potential impacts Many impact mitigation strategies have been identified to reduce impact Early consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and DPNR will be critical Although no threatened species have been identified at Bovoni Point, full assessments should be conducted to identify concerns, such as potential impacts on the mangrove swamp east of the area

Wind Development Public Acceptance

The general publicincluding residents in the USVIare relatively supportive of wind power, assuming it is appropriately implemented with community involvement. Wind projects, however, will have community impacts: Visualturbines will be seen; the impacts on the community, including, tourism must be considered Noiseturbines create noise which can impact homes Flickerthe shadow caused by turbine blades All of these items should be analyzed as part of the project development process in close collaboration with the local and island community There is a great deal of misinformation available about wind energy (especially on the Internet)open dialog based on trust and progress to mutual goals is important to foster a successful project development

Key to Public Acceptance Good Information

Common wind myths Wind energy is more expensive than conventional energy Wind energy requires huge government incentives to achieve these economics Its being forced by an overreaching government The economic benefits of wind energy arent local Wind energy is unpredictable and must be backed up by conventional generation. If wind energy displaces energy from existing fossil fuel plants, then rates will go up Wind projects will negatively affect my property values Large, utility-grade wind turbines cant be installed on the distribution grid without expensive upgrades and power-quality issues Projects with fewer turbines, that might be suitable for co-ops or small municipal utilities, are not economical Wind turbines kill birds and bats and fragment habitat Sound from wind turbines is annoying and will disrupt sleep; it may also cause health impacts The general issue: As with most things, there are strong beliefs on the wings of every issue and a large quiet majority that is open to learning. The question is how to engage the middle majority effectively, providing credible and respectful information The NIMBY myth: The concept of NIMBY is rather outdated and generally does not capture all of the complexity of the social issues The discussion is not even: Most people (news organizations and others) want to provide a balanced perspective, even if the number of people representing the different views is not even (Fox Island Maine: only 26 out of 499 respondents have a negative view since installation, according to the Island Institute) The key: Open, clear, and informed dialog in an atmosphere of trust and mutually agreed purpose

Public Acceptance Bovoni Point Visualizations

Areas where the hub of the turbine is likely to be visible in the absence of tree or other local obstructions

Public Acceptance Bovoni Point Visualizations

Using the WindPro software, visualizations were completed using photographs from several locations likely to have direct views of the turbine sites. These were conducted with different turbine types and sizes.

Public Acceptance Bovoni Point Visualizations

Visual simulation of a six-turbine project (~12 MW) from Water Gate Road (Point E)

Public Acceptance Bovoni Point Visualizations

Visual simulation of a six-turbine project (~12 MW) from Bolongo Bay (Point F)

Public Acceptance Bovoni Point Visualizations

Visual simulation of a six-turbine project (~12 MW) from close to Virgin Islands Ecotours on Rt. 32 (Point H)

Public Acceptance Bovoni Point Noise and Flicker

Noise, safety, and flicker impacts of turbines are assessed with setback standards and computer simulation Although there are no typical distance standards defined for noise and flicker, the above figure shows a 1,500-ft radius around a purely hypothetical turbine layout

Wind Development SROPTTC Technology

Utility-scale wind technology is commercial and generally highly regulated (IEC 64000), although many regulations are voluntary and not all turbines have gone through testing IEC type certification defines turbines based on the loads expected under certain conditions: Class I - 10 m/s annual average, Class II - 8.5 m/s, and Class III - 7.5 m/s Turbine class relate to annual average wind speed, site turbulence, and maximum wind speedall three should help dictate turbine choice Type certification does not account for extreme events, such as hurricanes, cold and hot climates, which must receive special consideration In island settings other issues will all determine turbine applicability Size and quality of port and local lifting capabilities Available space for installation and equipment laydown Size, quality, and steepness of roads Ability of the turbines to provide grid support services

Wind Development Hurricane Considerations

Hurricanes have a potential to greatly impact wind projects in the USVI finance and insuring a wind turbine on Bovoni Point are expected to depend on the individual design standards of specific original equipment manufacturers
Vestas and Vergnet offer anticyclonic technical enhancements Enercon has a history of installing turbines in extreme climates Return Period (years) 50 100 700 1700 Extreme Wind Speed (mph) 130 143 167 176

Bovoni Point extreme wind speeds and period of return

Vergnet 1-MW HP turbine with lowering hub and generator
Photo from Vergnet Eolien LLC

Existing projects in Jamaica, Cuba, and Aruba all indicate that projects can be installed and insured

Wind Development Bovoni Point Logistics

Lift and road requirements will be dependent on turbine selection Crown Bay Cargo Port would seem to be an obvious potential off-loading point but requires extensive road upgrades
Other options include:
Beach-side drop point, likely in the vicinity of Bovoni Bay Red Hook Bay

But would require equipment staging and the use of ship-based crane support Installation crane and local access will also be required but are not seen as major roadblocks

Possible equipment drop points and overland transport routes, including likely problem turns

Wind Development Wind Integration Concerns

Reliable power system operation requires balance between load and generation within acceptable statistical limits Output of wind plants cannot be controlled and scheduled with high degree of accuracy Larger wind plants on Isolated grids have measurable impact on system operating cost System operators concerned that additional variability introduced by wind plants will increase system operating cost

Wind Development Grid Integration

Contribution 10% 20% 30% 40%










St. Thomas

8 MW

3 MW

16 MW

6 MW

25 MW

8 MW

32 MW

12 MW

ST. Croix

5 MW

2 MW

10 MW

4 MW

15 MW

6 MW

20 MW

8 MW

Integration of high contributions of renewables into the St. Thomas and St. Croix grids will require careful consideration, especially at higher contributions Studies have looked at several options including integration into the Puerto Rico grid Steady-state and short-circuit analysis by Siemens did not reveal major issues that can prevent incorporating the renewable resource Dynamic stability studies conducted by Siemens confirm that careful consideration of grid impacts will be required at higher renewable energy contributions absent a PR interconnection Careful turbine selection and the potential use of energy-smoothing technologies will need to be used at higher wind contributions Further studies when turbine selection is ongoing will be required

Wind Development SROPTTC Team

As there are no utility-scale wind power projects currently in operation in the USVI, it is likely that the most efficient means of completing a wind power project will involve some level of external expertise from a company already engaged in wind power development in the United States or elsewhere in the world Leveraging the experience of a developer who has worked in other island locales may bring additional relevant capability to the project team; however: Close coordination with VIEO and WAPA and will be required Significant local leadership and actions will be required Potential activities to reduce project risk (and thus PPA price) include: Resource assessment (1-year site and high-speed resource data) Open public acceptance dialog facilitated by the EDIN-USVI working groups Initial investigations: environmental impact , grid integration, logistics, geotechnical, and land ownership

Summary of Wind in the U.S. Virgin Islands

SROPTTC analysis indicates several good locations on St. Thomas and St. Croix for expanded wind development Installations in Jamaica and Aruba demonstrate other commercially viable wind project developments in the Caribbean Estimated LCOE is in the range from roughly $0.10/kWh to $0.20/kWh Bovoni Peninsula/Point on St. Thomas has been identified as a very likely location for initial development of a multi-MW wind installation Although the SROPTTC process identified several key local challenges, the initial critical flaw analysis was positive, with key issues remaining: Local infrastructure development needs including roads, offloading, and other civil work More detailed resource data collection Community acceptance, including visualization, noise, quality of place, and flicker Integration into the local distribution infrastructure Selection of turbines, including consolidation of all system requirements Development of a commercially viable financing and team approach to bring project to fruition

Carpe Ventem

Ian Baring-Gould (303) 554-6230